Functional areas in fMRI studies are often detected by brain-behavior correlation, calculating across-subject correlation between the behavioral index and the brain activity related to a function of interest. Within-subject correlation analysis is also employed in a single subject level, which utilizes cognitive fluctuations in a shorter time period by correlating the behavioral index with the brain activity across trials. In the present study, the within-subject analysis was applied to the stop-signal task, a standard task to probe response inhibition, where efficiency of response inhibition can be evaluated by the stop-signal reaction time (SSRT). Since the SSRT is estimated, by definition, not in a trial basis but from pooled trials, the correlation across runs was calculated between the SSRT and the brain activity related to response inhibition. The within-subject correlation revealed negative correlations in the anterior cingulate cortex and the cerebellum. Moreover, the dissociation pattern was observed in the within-subject analysis when earlier vs. later parts of the runs were analyzed: negative correlation was dominant in earlier runs, whereas positive correlation was dominant in later runs. Regions of interest analyses revealed that the negative correlation in the anterior cingulate cortex, but not in the cerebellum, was dominant in earlier runs, suggesting multiple mechanisms associated with inhibitory processes that fluctuate on a run-by-run basis. These results indicate that the within-subject analysis compliments the across-subject analysis by highlighting different aspects of cognitive/affective processes related to response inhibition.
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